Looking back at a difficult year in classical music

Posted on: December 23, 2020

“At the close of a catastrophic year in the performing arts, the annual ritual of cobbling together a list of highlights takes on a woeful cast,” writes Alex Ross in the December 12 New Yorker. “The damage that performing-arts groups and working performers have suffered is more severe than we can measure…. The Metropolitan Opera, which furloughed around a thousand employees in the spring, has offered to resume sending paychecks to unionized employees but only if they accept long-term reductions in salary…. The case of the Columbus Symphony is worthy of note: remarkably, it has made no cuts for any of its full-time musicians or staff…. Listeners can play a role in the recovery, as well…. Beginning in mid-March, the enlightened music site Bandcamp began running a series of altruistic sales, the proceeds of which went directly to artists. It’s also worth bearing in mind that streaming music is more destructive to the environment than any technology of musical reproduction that has come before.” The article includes “ten notable performances of 2020” and “a memorial for eagerly anticipated performances that never took place” this year including those by the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony.